Sunday, May 4, 2014

Results Of Lasagna Gardening Over Winter

In the fall, after I harvested just about everything, I spent a chunk of time prepping my garden allotment for the following year.  I decided to try out the lasagna gardening method to see if it would benefit my soil and also keep out weeds.

My garden plot when I first took over spring 2013.  FULL of weeds!

When I first took hold of my garden in the spring of 2013, it was a solid field of weeds.  It seems the previous owner abandoned ship and the space had been over-run in weeds for nearly two years.  It took endless hours in the hot sun with the help of my father {that's what dads are for!} to de-weed the place.  We nearly broke our backs in the process.  And I was determined to make that a one time deal!

After days of back-breaking weeding spring 2013.

So after reading, reading and more reading on various methods, here's what I came up with.

First I laid down a very thick layer of newspaper.  I'm talking cardboard thick.  In fact, cardboard would have been perfectly acceptable.  As I am an avid couponer though, I simply saved my newspapers {I usually buy four per week} out of the recycle bin for a few weeks.  Cover every square inch.  Then I added a layer of green compost.  For about two weeks I saved scraps in my fridge for this purpose.  I used some of the pulled out plants, banana peels, egg shells, etc.  I also dusted everything with a nice layer of Azomite/ Rock Dust.  Then I added a really thick layer of brown compost.  In this case it was tree leaves that were all over the outside of the garden fence.  {This year though I now have a source for organic grass fed cow manure from a family friend that will be mixed in, too.} And finally, I topped it all off with a thick layer of straw {not hay...I can't say that not use hay}.

Lasagna Gardening fall 2013

This left my space looking like a clean canvas.  But I wondered how it would hold up over the winter months.  I knew many things in the various compost layers wouldn't actually break down until this spring and summer when the heat got to work.

I am so pleased that I took the time {which was fairly minimal in the grand scheme of things} in the fall to prep my garden space.  Most gardeners simply pulled out their plants and left for six months.  But that means that they are now coming back to spaces that are once again solid weeds.  The only places I have to deal with weeds are along the edges that touch neighbors who have weeds overflowing in their allotments!  On top of that, as everything continues to break down, it will feed the worms {a gardener's best friend} and build up the soil.

This is how my garden looked before I set foot in it this spring.   Weed free!

I plan this year to either plant right over the mulch {for example my beans and lettuce} by simply adding a layer of good soil on top or dig right through it {for example tomato plants that need to be buried very deep}.  I will remove nothing and just let it do its thing this year.  The straw mulch will continue to keep the weeds away and as it heats up, it will help to keep the soil moist so I will need to water less often.

Tomato Man vs. Preppy Pink Crocodile

For comparison, here is my neighbor's spot {last year I called him Tomato Man and will again refer to him as that this year} vs. mine on May 01, 2014 just after I planted my beans.  His is weed-tastic and will require a ton of work before a single seed or plant can go into that soil.  Mine is ready for planting on day one without doing a single thing first.

Do you have a favorite mulching method?  Is it different than mine?  I'm still in the experimenting phase so I am very open to new suggestions.  Have you ever tried the lasagna gardening method?  What did you think of it?


linda said...

Wow!!! That shows that good prep is worth it! I' m looking forward to watching your garden adventures. I am a good gardener for flowers , but not so much for vegetables.... You are giving me hope and inspiration!
- Linda, ny

Talka said...

I've been following your gardening posts here and on Instagram. This seems so worth the effort!!! It's really making me want to garden this summer too (although I wonder if it's too late for that already?!). Either way, this looks awesome, can't wait to see how it progresses!

AEOT said...

What a great idea! That worked really well for you. I love reading about your gardening adventures. We have a raised bed in our back yard but with tree growth over the last 20 years, it no longer gets enough sun for veggies/fruits, so we have to use pots in our front yard. It's not ideal and I can't grow enough, but it's all I have for now. Maybe when the kids are a bit older we can figure out another solution!

Flo said...

What an awesome idea, I'm glad to her that it worked so well. The time you save will be huge!

meemsnyc said...

This is a great idea! And it adds nice nutrients back into the ground! I used lots of compost in our garden. I also grew clover at the end of the season and let it die back to put nutrients back in.

KiwiCat said...

I just wanted to let you know that I really like your blog and nominated you for the Liebster Award! If you would like to accept it, please visit this link and follow the instructions: Keep up the good work! :)

Anonymous said...

everything ok? we miss your posts


Related Posts with Thumbnails